Pedestrians and cyclists who are injured in road accidents are often made out to be the ones to blame for whatever happened. Colorado pedestrians must not feel intimidated by the way the media, and sometimes law enforcement, seems to use language that clears all vehicle operators and declares that no auto-pedestrian accidents will happen if pedestrians follow the rules. Almost every report that involves a pedestrian or cyclist points out some level of contributory negligence by them.

Examples of this tendency to blame the victim are evident in various printed and online media reports and even in police reports. Typical comments include someone who darted into the traffic, wore dark clothing, texted while walking, jaywalked, cycled without a helmet and more. In many cases, a helmet would have provided no protection against a cyclist’s fatal or catastrophic injuries; however, the news report will focus on the fact that the deceased cyclist failed to wear a helmet rather than what the vehicle operator did that might have caused the collision.

When two cars collide, reports typically include notes about one driver running a red light, turning without yielding, crossing over the center line and more, but auto-pedestrian accident reports apparently focus on everything but the motorist’s actions. MacEwan University released a report that indicates that almost 5,000 pedestrians and 800 cyclists die in traffic accidents nationwide every year. The observations here were made by a journalist who believes more accurate reporting might bring about safer driving while drawing the attention of authorities to dangerous areas where changes might be needed.

Victims of auto-pedestrian accidents who know that their injuries were caused by the negligence of motorists rather than their own might have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Similarly, those who have lost loved ones in such accidents could have viable wrongful death claims. An experienced Colorado personal injury attorney can assess the circumstances and suggest the best way forward.

Source: cjr.org, “When covering car crashes, be careful not to blame the victim“, Meg Dalton, April 4, 2018

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